Is this Dunkin’ Donuts’ response to Starbucks’ Unicorn Frappuccino?

The Massachusetts-based company admits the concept isn't an original idea.

The new "Cosmic Coolatta." –Courtesy of Dunkin' Donuts

It wouldn’t be the first time Dunkin’ Donuts followed closely in Starbucks’ footsteps.

The Canton-based chain released a new, colorful Coolatta this week that looks conspicuously reminiscent of another bright, otherworldly frozen beverage from its coffee rival.

Dunkin’s “Cosmic Coolatta” is a multi-layered frozen drink that comes in two varieties, cotton candy (which layers cotton candy and blue raspberry flavors) and pineapple (which tops pineapple-flavored Coolatta with blue raspberry). The company says it will be available nationwide through Memorial Day weekend.

However, the idea of releasing a limited-time, multi-colored, fruity, layered frozen drink devised for Instagram isn’t exactly original. Last spring, Starbucks created a social media frenzy with their “Unicorn Frappuccino.” Following the release of the Cosmic Coolatta this week, several outlets  noted a similarity as customers began posting photos of the new drink.

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The last few years have seen Dunkin’ continue to model itself after Starbucks, in everything from the style of its stores to upscale coffee drinks like macchiatos and cold-brew iced coffee. In a blog post Monday elaborating on the backstory of the Cosmic Coolatta, Dunkin Brands research and development technologist Courtney Anderson acknowledged the drink’s external inspiration.

“Right now, brightly-colored, layered beverages and galaxy-inspired food are everywhere,” Anderson wrote. “That’s what inspired us to begin creating the Cosmic Coolatta flavors and our new Comet Candy Donut.”

Oh, right. There’s also a donut. Can’t say they copied that from Starbucks.

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